(June 12) Today's Top Headlines - Top 10 stories for today - The Explorer: Today's Headlines

(June 12) Today's Top Headlines - Top 10 stories for today

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Posted: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:43 am

1. ACLU SUES TO STOP THE NSA FROM COLLECTING PHONE LOGS

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over the National Security Agency's program to collect domestic phone logs. The ACLU is asking a judge to stop the once-secret "dragnet," saying it violates the Constitution's guarantee of free speech and protection against unreasonable searches. The Justice Department declined to comment, but intelligence officials visited Capitol Hill to tell lawmakers the spying is necessary and unobtrusive. [The Hill, Sun-Times]

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2. WILDFIRES BREAK OUT IN COLORADO

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes in Colorado as at least four major wildfires erupted along the edge of the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday. The aggressive Black Forest fire outside Colorado Springs damaged or destroyed 40 to 60 homes as it grew to cover as much as 8,000 acres. That blaze is near the scene of last summer's Waldo Canyon fire, which destroyed 346 homes and killed two people. [Christian Science Monitor]

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3. ACTIVISTS BALK AT MEETING ERDOGAN AFTER CRACKDOWN

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to meet Wednesday with activists who triggered nationwide anti-government protests by staging demonstrations to oppose plans to develop a green space in a park in Istanbul's Taksim Square. Several protest leaders, however, said they were pulling out of the talks after police pushed demonstrators out of the square using tear gas and water cannons. "We want to be heard, respected," one woman told CNN. "We're not criminals." [CNN]

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4. POPE FRANCIS LAMENTS THE PRESENCE OF A VATICAN 'GAY LOBBY'

Pope Francis told Latin American church officials during a private audience that there is a "gay lobby" and "current of corruption" at work in the highest levels of the Vatican, according to a written account of the meeting. The leaked document echoed February reports in Italian media describing a "gay lobby" that was influencing Vatican policy through blackmail. The scandalous allegations surfaced shortly before Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, resigned. [CBS News]

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5. STATE DEPARTMENT MEMO DESCRIBES PROSTITUTION ALLEGATIONS

An internal memo by the State Department's inspector general suggests that senior officials may have covered up misconduct by staff, including a U.S. ambassador who allegedly "routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children." The ambassador called the allegations a baseless smear. The State Department denies that any reports of misconduct were covered up. [Associated Press, NBC News]

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6. NORTH KOREA DASHES HOPES FOR TALKS

North Korean officials failed to answer calls from their South Korean counterparts on a newly reopened Red Cross hotline on Wednesday, a day after the North called off talks on reopening the jointly run Kaesong industrial complex. The two days of talks, which were to begin Wednesday, were seen as a sign that war tensions were easing. The plans unraveled after Pyongyang said it was sending a junior official, but insisted that Seoul send a much higher ranking representative. [Reuters]

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7. RUSSIA MOVES TO BAN GAY 'PROPAGANDA'

Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, on Tuesday unanimously passed a ban on exposing children to gay "propaganda." Police detained more than 20 activists after they staged a "kissing protest" and were attacked by anti-gay thugs affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church. The law still must be approved by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin. Both are expected to endorse it, effectively outlawing gay pride events and other expressions of support for gay rights. [Reuters]

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8. GREECE CLOSES STATE BROADCASTER IN AN AUSTERITY PUSH

Greece shut down state broadcaster ERT on Tuesday night, calling it a "haven of waste." The decision caused viewers' screens to go black as the main TV channel was airing its nightly news, and prompted thousands of people to protest outside ERT's headquarters. The move was part of the latest barrage of spending cuts and tax hikes aiming to save the Greek government from financial collapse. ERT's 2,500 employees are being fired, but can reapply once a smaller version is relaunched. [BBC News]

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9. NSA SNOOPING BOOSTS SALES OF ORWELL'S 1984

Sales of 1984, George Orwell's classic dystopian novel about an all-seeing oppressive government, have shot up 3,000 percent on Amazon since reports of the National Security Agency's broad telephone and internet spying emerged last week. By Tuesday, the book had peaked at number 194 on the site, up from 6,750 one day earlier. The uptick has been attributed to frequent media comparisons of President Obama to the novel's all-seeing Big Brother. [ABC News]

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10. OLDEST MAN EVER DIES AT 116

The oldest man in history, Jiroemon Kimura of Japan, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 116. According to Guinness World Records, the title of oldest living person is now held by another Japanese, 115-year-old Misao Okawa. The new oldest living man, according to the U.S.-based Gerontology Research Group, is James McCoubrey, an American. At 111, he's the 32nd oldest living person — all of his elders are women. [Associated Press]

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